In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 15% of men aged 18 and older in the United States were in fair or poor health. And while women in the United States have a life expectancy of 80.5 years, the life expectancy for men is only 75.1 years. So how can we encourage men to lead healthier lives? It starts with heightening the awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
Physical health resources for men
Did you know many of the major, unique health risks men face, such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement, can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle?
The CDC shares the following healthy habits:
- Eat healthy. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers and can improve your mental health and mood. Adults need at least two and a half hours of physical activity each week.
- Set an example. Choosing to avoid or quit smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. You lower your risk for different types of cancer, and don't expose others to secondhand smoke — which causes health problems. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for more information.
- Recognize and reduce stress. Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
- Get regular checkups and screenings. Participating in regular checkups and screenings can spot disease early, when it is easiest to treat.
Supporting men’s mental health
While focusing on living a healthier lifestyle comes with many benefits, it is also important for men to prioritize mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that men are less likely to have received mental health treatment than women in the past year.
Check out these organizations and resources that cater to men’s mental health needs:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness has a free text service for people in crisis (text "NAMI" to 741-741) and a hotline (1-800-950-NAMI) to answer questions about mental health and provide referrals.
- National Institute of Mental Health offers an online behavioral health treatment locator, as well as a hotline (1-800-662-HELP) to call to receive information on mental health and referrals to treatment providers.
- Movember Foundation focuses on men's health issues like prostate cancer and testicular cancer, as well as men's mental illness and suicide prevention.
- HeadsUpGuys focuses on helping males with depression by providing information, tips and tools about professional services and success stories.
- Face It Foundation aims to help men understand and overcome depression and to reduce the rate of male suicide by providing support groups, one-on-one peer support, outreach events, public education and training for mental health professionals.
Health is a lifelong journey that is personal and unique to each individual. Learn more about how you can improve your health and well-being — from how to get better sleep to the key health screenings everyone should consider.